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Manufacturing sector needs talent to fill 10 million jobs worldwide – WEF

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Talent, the ability to innovate and the strategic use of public policy will play a significant role in defining the manufacturing sector’s competitiveness in developed and emerging economies, according to a new manufacturing report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) April 24, 2012.

The report, titled “The Future of Manufacturing”, revealed that the global manufacturing ecosystem is undergoing a dramatic transformation, with many emerging economies developing significant manufacturing and innovation capabilities, enabling them to produce increasingly complex products and leading to the globalization of manufacturing supply chains.

Written in collaboration with Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, the WEF report highlighted key trends that will define manufacturing competition over the next 20 years and which will require the attention and collaboration of policy-makers, civil society and business leaders.

The report disclosed that an estimated 10 million manufacturing jobs worldwide cannot be filled today and this is “due to a growing skills gap.” The report identified talent as one of the key differentiators that will define the future of the sector.

“Despite the high unemployment rate in many developed economies, companies are struggling to fill manufacturing jobs with the right talent,” it said.

However, it said several countries are taking action. Citing India as an example, WEF said the country has created the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) which is a public-private partnership to identify and fund vocational education businesses. “To date, NSDC has approved $150 million in funding for 29 ventures that will train 40 million youth in diverse trades over the next 10 years,” it added.

“Today, and for the foreseeable future, the manufacturing game is going to look like a global talent competition – one in which countries and companies contend to find and develop highly skilled workers who can handle the advanced manufacturing processes needed to make innovative, high-value products,” said Craig Giffi, Vice-Chairman and Consumer & Industrial Products Industry Leader at Deloitte LLP, USA.

“In this competition,” Giffi said “the advantage will go to countries that can combine effective public policies with good private-sector leadership, a move that will attract investment and drive superior talent development and innovation.”

“Manufacturing is a critical driver of economic growth and job creation in emerging economies such as Brazil, China and India,” said John Moavenzadeh, Senior Director of Mobility Industries at WEF.

Moavenzadeh adds “Developed countries are increasingly recognizing the importance of coordinated policies that enhance the high value-added components of manufacturing supply chains.”

The report concluded that the infrastructure necessary to enable manufacturing to flourish and contribute to job growth will grow in importance and sophistication and will be challenging for countries to develop and maintain.

Growing material resources competition and scarcity will fundamentally alter country and company resource strategies, and serve as a catalyst to significant breakthroughs in materials sciences, it said.

By Ekow Quandzie

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  1. judging by the statisitics over recent years and also by poor policies towards our manufacturing sector, it is easy to arrive at the alarming conclusion that Ghana has almost lost the next 20 years